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Soviet T-72's


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I'm a little surprised to see quite a lot of Soviet T-72's in the game. Were there ever Soviet tanks of this type deployed in East Germany? If I recall correctly they were in service with the third echelon units based in USSR. The main Soviet tank in GDR in late 70's was still T-62 and it was being replaced by T-80. I realize that for average westerner every Soviet tank from that period was T-72, but this impression is not correct. 

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I had included T72s in my Fahrbahns scenario because I imagined they might never show up in a scenario otherwise. Because why would anyone pick T72 when you can play with T64s and T80s? I guess i underestimated the nostalgic appeal of T72.

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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

I had included T72s in my Fahrbahns scenario because I imagined they might never show up in a scenario otherwise. Because why would anyone pick T72 when you can play with T64s and T80s? I guess i underestimated the nostalgic appeal of T72.

I too was confused to see them as i just read the manual where it said that they were not employed by the soviet in Germany. Great little mission btw! It feel so weird fighting with the Starships.

Quick question: where does one go to see the TOE of the Warsaw pact and Nato army at that time 

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2 hours ago, Megalon Jones said:

Tank type was dependent on formation.  Motor Rifle got T62/T72’s while the tank regiment’s got T64/T80’s.

I believe the East German NVA was the only Pact army to get any T72’s.  Everyone else got T55’s and T62’s.

Incorrect - motor rifle regiments generally got the older kit but not T-72s.  Using 8 Guards Army, which would have been GSFG's first operational echelon in the American zone as the case study ...

20 Guards Motor Rifle Division

  • Was completely equipped with T-54/55 in 1974.
  • It had a mix of T-54/55, T-62 and T-64 in 1979.
  • In 1985 it had 231 x T-62s and 40 x T-80s.

39 Guards Motor Rifle Division

  • Was completely equipped with T-54/55 in 1974.
  • In 1979 15 Guards Tank Regiment was T-64 equipped while the three motor rifle regiments were T-62 equipped.
  • In 1985 it had 177 x T-62 on strength and 94 x T-80s.

57 Guards Motor Rifle Division

  • Was completely equipped with T-54/55 in 1974
  • 51 Guards Tank and 174 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment were equipped with T-64 while 170 and 241 Guards Motor Rifle Regiments were equipped with T-55 in 1979.
  • In 1985 the division had 40 x T-62 and 231 x T-80s.

79 Guards Tank Division

  • In 1974 every single regiment in the division was equipped with T-62 except 247 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment which was equipped with T-54/55.
  • In 1979 it was completely equipped with the T-62 with the exception of 211 Tank Regiment which had possibly received T-64 that year.
  • In 1985 it was completely T-80 equipped.
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I don't have anything in the current period of the game (1979-1982). But I found a wonderful document giving the OOBs of the Warsaw Pact forces in Europe in June 1989: http://i.4pcdn.org/tg/1377961541351.pdf

As of 1989 it seems all formations are equipped either with T80s or T64Bs. I wasn't quite satisfied with this and wanted to know what type of T80 each unit had (who had T80Us and who had T80BVs), and got this answer on Quora: https://www.quora.com/Where-were-the-Soviet-T80Us-stationed-in-1989-What-kind-of-T80s-were-stationed-in-East-Germany-in-1989?q=t80u

The relevant excerpt:

"Divisions of 8th guards army: 27th: T80U, 57th: T80?, 79th: T80?, 39th: mixed, one regiment of T80BV (1987), and two regiments of T80U (1989).
Divisions of 1st guards tank army: 9th: T80BV, 11th: T80BV *, 20th: T80BV.
Divisions of 3rd shock tank army: 7th: T80U, 10th: T80?, 12th: T80?, 47th: T80?.
Divisions of 2nd guards tank army:
16th: T80?,
21st: T80U (1991, differs with your OOB),
207th: T80? (1991, differs with your OOB),
94th: T64B (1991, differs with your OOB).
There are also 20th guards army (presented in your OOB but omitted in your list):
6th separate motorized rifle brigade: T64B (omitted in your OOB),
25th tank division (disbanded in 1989): T64B,
32nd guards tank division: T64B,
35th motorized rifle division: T64B,
90th guards tank division : T80? (1990, differs with your OOB)."

Again, unfortunately this information applies to 1989, which is currently outside of the scope of the game (although could be useful in designing scenarios in Armored Brigade, which is what I initially wanted the information for since CMCW hadn't even been announced at the time). Anyway, still no T72s in Germany (plenty waiting back in the USSR though, and I'm sure it wouldn't take long for them to join the fighting).

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Incorrect - motor rifle regiments generally got the older kit but not T-72s.  Using 8 Guards Army, which would have been GSFG's first operational echelon in the American zone as the case study ...

Thanks for the clarification.  The T72's were for 2nd echelon troops in the West TVD and for export.

Imagine the logistics nightmare of having four different MBT's in service at the same time.

Edited by Megalon Jones
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28 minutes ago, Centurian52 said:

I don't have anything in the current period of the game (1979-1982). But I found a wonderful document giving the OOBs of the Warsaw Pact forces in Europe in June 1989: http://i.4pcdn.org/tg/1377961541351.pdf

Looking at the information on 79 Guards Tank Division in the pdf I would suggest it isn't wonderful:

79 Guards Tank Division should comprise

  • 17 Guards Tank Regiment
  • 45 Guards Tank Regiment
  • 211 Tank Regiment
  • 247 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment

These regiments comprised the division from 1970 through to its CFE declaration of November 1990 with 322 x T-80 on its books.

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6 hours ago, Panzerpanic said:

Reading all that, im suprise of the prevalence of the t62.
 

So was I to be honest - researching for this title has caused me to question everything I knew about the Cold War and, as I served in a 1 (BR) Corps roled Divisional Intelligence Section for the last two years of the Cold War, I knew quite a lot.  3 Shock Army in the game time frame was a very different beast to one that I knew for instance.

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Posted (edited)

A quick and dirty summary of the tanks present in the various divisions of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, I compiled this from the data available on the excellent Cold War Soviet Army OoB site by Michael Holm. These are only ballpark figures (and some smaller units are missing, namely a few independent tank regiments) but this should be useful to get the overall picture.

image.thumb.png.bd0a3bd4e2c9643d2aaab0257cdd80c2.png

Edited by Amedeo
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@Amedeo - that's the source I'm using too.  A lot of it is derived from this publication (in Russian) which I've rummaged around - there are inconsistencies for sure but I haven't found anything better:

УДК 355 (lib.ru)

As an example of inconsistency - both the website and Feskov list 245 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment as being part of 47 Guards Tank Division and 207 Motor Rifle Division in the same period of time.  Logic to me dictates that it was part of 47 Guards Tank Division because it appears in its Orbat from 1960 all the way through to its CFE declaration in 1990.

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Guys, of course there weren't T-72s in GSFG, but units equipped with these tanks deployed in the border military districts of USSR. Of course, these units could be moved to Germany after beginning of warfare as reinforcements. Also T-72 had Central Group of Forces in Chekhoslovakia, closest to the theater.  

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6 hours ago, Combatintman said:

So was I to be honest - researching for this title has caused me to question everything I knew about the Cold War and, as I served in a 1 (BR) Corps roled Divisional Intelligence Section for the last two years of the Cold War, I knew quite a lot.  3 Shock Army in the game time frame was a very different beast to one that I knew for instance.

3rd CAA was a TA, right?  Did anyone ever figure out how 3rd CAA and 2nd GTA were to be used?  I seem to remember tons of controversy about those two formations.  Some thought they would be in the 1st echelon.  Other's thought they would be split up into different OMG's and distributed right between the 1st and 2nd echelon

Either way, they couldn't have been used as a massed ready reserve as they would be nuked.

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16 hours ago, Megalon Jones said:

Thanks for the clarification.  The T72's were for 2nd echelon troops in the West TVD and for export.

Imagine the logistics nightmare of having four different MBT's in service at the same time.

The funny thing is that the Sov got 4 different tanks in their fleet because of internal politics and a enormous case of Not Invented Here syndrome at the tank factories. 
 

And people think NATO was a disorganized cluster because the members couldn’t all agree on a common tank or service rifle. 
 

H

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Megalon Jones said:

3rd CAA was a TA, right?  Did anyone ever figure out how 3rd CAA and 2nd GTA were to be used?  I seem to remember tons of controversy about those two formations.  Some thought they would be in the 1st echelon.  Other's thought they would be split up into different OMG's and distributed right between the 1st and 2nd echelon

Either way, they couldn't have been used as a massed ready reserve as they would be nuked.

In terms of composition it was a Tank Army but going back to what I said about relearning everything I thought I knew about the Cold War it was not called 3 Shock Army during the time frame of this game.  It also only had only three divisions until 1983 (two tank and one motor rifle) vice the four that I am more familiar with in the time that I was expected to face it off.

OMGs were the new buzz words in the late 80s so for the game period  I wouldn't set too much store by them.   3 CAA/Shock Army's main effort would have been in the 1 (GE) Corps AOR (Hannover and immediately north of it), 2 GTA was pretty much going to be the second operational echelon for GSFG and given where it was based, would most likely have rolled through 1 (GE) Corps and bits of 1 (BR) Corps.  Of course it could have been employed north and south of that option though .   The most likely second operational echelon in the south would have been the Central Group of Forces and, from what I've read, the Poles, if they turned up, would have been given the northern option (eg Hamburg and all of the coastal stuff).

There is the issue of the NVA - from what I can gather during the game time frame two NVA divisions were slated to come under 3 CAA/3 Shock Army's command, both were fairly high category reserve divisions and my guess is that they would get given tasks to either fix bits of 1 (NL) Corps and 1 (BE) Corps or do a bit of 'kameradenschaft' with 1 (GE) Corps in built up areas such as Hannover.

Edited by Combatintman
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22 hours ago, MikeyD said:

I had included T72s in my Fahrbahns scenario because I imagined they might never show up in a scenario otherwise. Because why would anyone pick T72 when you can play with T64s and T80s? I guess i underestimated the nostalgic appeal of T72.

Great scenario BTW. I loved it.

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16 hours ago, Panzerpanic said:

Reading all that, im suprise of the prevalence of the t62.
 

Given the prevalence of M60 on the other side of Iron Curtain during the same time period, this shouldn't be so surprising. 

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@Combatintman Yes, I have a copy of the book by Fes'kov et alii you mentioned. You are right, there are a few inconsistencies but there's nothing better around (AFAIK, of course). BTW, there's a revised edition of the same work, dated 2013, titled: The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War 2: from the Red Army to the Soviet Army - part 1: land forces.

Of course Michael Holm used heavily this source, but the strength returns from 1979 and 1985 are probably from some Western intel source because in the aforementioned book I only found detailed figures for the end of the '80s. Moreover, the figures I gave above are obviously only an estimate to be taken with a (big) grain of salt, because they all sum up to the exact TOE totals for all the divisions listed. Here are the strength returns for Tank Divisions from the book relative to the end of the '80s (actually, the numbers seems to be from the 1990 CFE treaty returns, I couldn't find any difference, although I admit I didn't try too hard):

174226570_Senzanome.thumb.jpg.238a517d62d06b25b028ddd9d322d83a.jpg

As can be seen, totals from each division vary wildly, so I doubt that in 1979 or 1985 the situation was very different. Moreover the 1985 figures are incompatible with the 1987 data one can find in Fes'kov:

1047057923_Senzanome.thumb.jpg.5987e946ff239053ccde981b7e4469be.jpg

It's worth noting that the information contained in these two tables comes from Lenskii & Tsybin's work: Soviet Land Forces in the last year of the Soviet Union.

And, in turn, the figures for 1st Jan. 1987 in the last table, ultimately come from a 1998 issue of Tekhnika i vooruzhenie.

For what concerns the OMGs, I presume you are well acquainted with the works of the late Richard Simpkin. I remember reading something in 1984 or 1985 but, although Simpkin's book and articles sparked debate in NATO circles, operational forward detachments were not a novelty in Soviet doctrine.

 

 

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